Two of the big three remain alive at the French Open and are perhaps on a path to face off with each other in this half of the draw. Italian opposition stands in the way of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal with Lorenzo Musetti, and Jannik Sinner looking for some massive victories. Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini is already through as Roger Federer gave a walk over, preserving his health for Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic vs Lorenzo Musetti
Yesh Ginsburg: An Italian once pulled off a miracle upset of Djokovic here. Musetti looks strong and he’ll pose a challenge, but Djokovic is just better right now. Djokovic in 4
Damian Kust: Thinking back to Djokovic’s loss to Marco Cecchinato three years ago, Musetti does possess a quite similar skillset as his older colleague. The variety might trouble the Serbian but he’s also definitely playing much better tennis than in the spring of 2018. Musetti is vulnerable to getting overpowered off the baseline, as he needs a lot of time to set up his strokes and be able to look for different ways to win the point. One thing he’s been using well in this tournament is netplay, but unless this area of his game will be extremely effective on Monday, he’s unlikely to win most of the rallies. Djokovic in 4
Jannik Sinner vs Rafael Nadal
Yesh: Last year, Sinner looked like a real threat to Nadal, and the Spaniard won pretty easily. Sinner isn’t playing nearly as beastly now as he was then, but he’s more experienced and tactical on court. Is that enough to beat Nadal? Almost certainly not. But will the match be closer than last year? I think so. Nadal in 3
Damian: Sinner came the closest to touching Nadal in Paris last year, failing to serve out the opening set. Fast forward to about nine months later and the Italian’s certainly improved, adding a lot more consistency to his flashy, powerful game. But can this be enough for Nadal at Roland Garros? Probably not, but Sinner should be able to stick around for about as long as he did last year. Nadal in 3
Diego Schwartzman vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Yesh: Struff is in the midst of a dream run, but Diego Schwartzman has finally found his clay form. When the Argentine is playing this well, only a few players in the world can beat him. Struff isn’t one of them. Schwartzman in 3
Damian: After a very mediocre first half of the season, Schwartzman really found another gear at this year’s French Open. He’s yet to lose a set, although admittedly his campaign has been among the easiest. Struff is not an elite opponent either, but the German has been playing great here in the upsets over Alcaraz and Rublev. His attacking tennis will be matched against Schwartman’s great counter-punching here and in the long run, he probably won’t be able to mix power with accuracy well enough. Schwartzman in 4
Roger Federer vs Matteo Berrettini
Editor’s Note: Federer withdrew after the predictions had been submitted, as mentioned above. We are showing what the writers thought at the time the matchup was set, though this match will not be played.
Yesh: Last time Berrettini played Federer, the Italian imploded. This match is on clay, which should be better for the Italian. Has he learned from his Wimbledon disaster two years ago? We’ll find out, but I’m not counting on it. Federer in 3
Damian: How will Federer recover from a marathon (at least for a 39-year-old) against Koepfer? That remains to be seen but even if he’s energetic and fully ready, this won’t be easy at all. Berrettini is in amazing form at the moment and while he won’t force Federer to play as many rallies as the German, he has tremendous power that he can use to make the Swiss play reactively and keep him on the back foot. Federer’s campaign should come to an end here. Berrettini in 4